“Learning for life has never been more fundamentally the mission of the library.” ~ Scott Silverman is Trying to Think
When I tell people that I work at a library the stock response is, “So you shelve books all day?” The answer is actually no. In fact, as a senior library clerk on the reference desk, shelving books isn’t even in my job description, though, I of course sneak back into the stacks to shelve books when I’ve got time. What can I say, I love organizing books. It’s a stereotype that does actually apply to me.
What I do in my job is actually the reason I decided to become a librarian: I help others in their pursuit of learning and in succeeding in life. This might mean I help someone find a book or share resources for their research. But more often than anything else, I assist people with computers. In this capacity, I teach people how to navigate job boards and apply for jobs (which I always find rewarding since it fills a desperate need for many of our patrons). I also teach people how to use the Microsoft Office Suite. And finally, I help some people navigate the often confusing Blackboard systems that most colleges in our area use.
Helping and teaching people, therefore, is really what my job is all about. That is why when people make a joke about how I am entering a dying field, I know they are wrong because my job doesn’t revolve around books. What it revolves around is teaching and helping, and – more often than not – it’s about learning. I learn about doing my job better, but I also learn about my patrons and what they need from us. Far from the stagnant, dusty profession that is inextricably tied to books, library science is actually a dynamic field that is constantly changing. And that’s what I love about working in libraries.